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From Derck to Slaff

To the Editors:

Over the past two and a half years, Ms. Lauren Slaff has taken every opportunity to express her dissatisfaction with the services provided to her by Durango Mountain Resort. Every time she has raised a concern, our management has taken the time to listen, explain the reasoning behind our policies, and resolve the various situations to the very best of our ability.

In this most recent situation, Ms. Slaff raised the concern that weekday passholders would be deprived of the opportunity to ski in the early and late portions of the season. We assured Ms. Slaff that, as always, we will do our best to open as early as possible and stay open as late as possible. Here in the Southwest, however, snowfall and temperatures are extremely unpredictable in the early and late season.

We went on to explain that, if we lack sufficient snow to provide a safe and enjoyable skiing experience on all seven days of the week, we will open Friday through Sunday. Without sufficient natural snow, it becomes necessary to pause our operations for a few days to allow our snowmaking and grooming teams to restore the snow to skiable condition. Otherwise, we would be unable to open at all. This policy was established to provide our local customers with the longest possible ski season by using all of our man and machine power, in the event that Mother Nature fails to cooperate.

As we explained to Ms. Slaff, if weather and snow conditions require us to put this plan into effect, we will honor all passes – including weekday passes – on every day that we are open. We also offered Ms. Slaff a full refund of the purchase price of her all-season pass, in the event that we were unable to address her concerns to her satisfaction.

Instead, Ms. Slaff opted to provide incorrect and misleading information to theDurango Herald, which then ran an inflammatory article across its front page,

causing unnecessary confusion and concern for our customers and a great deal of work for our employees, who were tasked with correcting the misinformationbeing circulated.

At that time, we realized that there was nothing we could do to satisfy Ms. Slaff, and we refunded her4money  to allow her to purchase a season pass at a resort that better suits her needs. We respect Ms. Slaff’s opinion and her right to express it, and whenever she would like to ski at Purgatory, she is always welcome to purchase a lift ticket.

For Ms. Slaff and all of our local customers, we will be offering discounted lift tickets on four “Locals Days” throughout the season, plus our annual Benefit Day. On these days, lift ticket proceeds will be donated to Durango-area non-profit organizations including KSUT, the Boys & Girls Club of La Plata County, Manna Soup Kitchen, La Plata Search and Rescue, Music in the Mountains, the Durango Winter Sports Foundation, and to offset the medical expenses of a longtime DMR employee, Barry “Carmine” Kemler, whose daughter, Caitlin, is undergoing medical treatment in Denver for a life-threatening illness.

Since its inception in 1992, DMR’s Benefit Day has raised more than $200,000 for local non profits and charities including include the United Way, the FLC Community Concert Hall Fund, the La Plata County Historical Society, the La Plata County Humane Society, the San Juan Mountain Association, the Durango Foundation for Educational Excellence, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of La Plata County, the Durango World Cup, Southwest Colorado Cares (9/11 Tragedy), the San Juan Mountain Association, the Durango Arts Center, Volunteers of America, the Durango Discovery Museum, Trails 2000, the Durango Winter Sports Foundation, Durango Nature Studies, and the American Red Cross.

On behalf of our 800+ employees, we wish Ms. Slaff well and will continue to do our very best to meet or exceed the expectations of all our customers, regardless of where they live, and to provide needed support to the non-profit organizations that benefit our local community.

– Sincerely, Gary Derck, CEO, Durango Mountain Resort

Finger pointing

To the Editors:

Economically, the United States, at present, finds itself in the midst of lethargy: unemployment, taxes, deficits and the cost of living are all rising, while growth, investment, savings and productivity are all shrinking. Who has made this possible?

Socially, we find ourselves in the midst of paralysis: opportunity for all has been steamrollered by political pull, respect for individual character has been obliterated by class and race warfare, and the sanctity of property has been swamped by the looting, mooching decrees of the “welfare” state. Who has made this possible?

Culturally, we find ourselves in the midst of jadedness: ethical standards have been overrun by the reign of moral relativity, adherence to principles has been overwhelmed by the moronic rule of the immediate moment, and the quest for truth has been torpedoed by bombastic, sensationalistic propaganda. Who has made this possible?

Educationally, we find ourselves in the midst of mindlessness: school costs continue to escalate while test scores decline, phonics teachings have been supplanted by the non-abstractive dictates of “look-say,” and the inculcation of the facts and accomplishments of American history have been superseded by a touchy-feely, nonobjective, nonconceptual mass of indoctrinational worthlessness. Who has made this possible?

Politically, we find ourselves and our individual rights held hostage by government officials who hold their ability to plunder the productive people of our society as superior to our right to retain the product of our efforts, who consider themselves and their laws to be above and greater than our former constitutional protections, and who have no problem whatsoever with replacing our peaceful desires with their legally-mandated declarations and promulgations, all enforced at the point of a gun whether we agree or not. Who has made this possible?

It would be nice to be able to declare, at this point, that we have been victimized by a malevolent conspiracy that we could resist and overcome, or assailed by an enemy that we could fight and vanquish. The reality, however, is completely different, for the answer to all of the above questions is: we have. That’s right. Not a single one of the deficient horrors mentioned above has taken place without our prior approval. We, the majority of the voters of the United States, have, at one time or another, demanded all of it.

If we now find our economy in a shambles, where is the surprise? We, the voters, have asked for the controls that are bleeding us dry – all in the name of “fairness.” If we now find our society teetering on the brink of collapse, where is the surprise? We, the voters, have had it re-engineered – all in the name of “progress.” If we now find our culture besieged by an irrational cesspool of degenerative senselessness, where is the surprise? We, the voters, have supported it – all in the name of “tolerance.” If we now find our “educational” system at the mercy of concrete-bound, range-of-the-moment brainlessness, where is the surprise? We, the voters, have encouraged it – all in the name of “self-esteem.” If we now find our political system hijacked by self-serving politicians bent on raping and pillaging the system for their own greedy aggrandizement, where is the surprise? We, the voters, continue to return them to the halls of Washington, D.C. year after year after year – all in the name of “representation.” Are we now shocked that in all of these instances, and many more, we have been granted our wishes?

The conspiracy we are being victimized by – is the internal logical consistency of our own ideas. The enemy assailing us is ourselves. Yes, we are being used, abused, manipulated and exploited but no form of exploitation can continue for long without the consent of the exploited.  

Aren’t the implications clear? We, the people, can bring about “change” – real change, not the mere trading of dictators that has been foisted upon us by our own ignorance – any time we desire to do so; all that is necessary is that we stop acting as our own destroyers. To have the virtue of freedom taken away is one thing; voluntarily giving it away, however, is something else altogether.

The power of choice, as always, is in your hands. What do you intend to do with it?

– Bradley Harrington, via e-mail

The price of health care reform

Dear Eds,

The latest Gallup and Rasmussen polls show 56 percent opposed to the Obama heath care plan and 38 percent in favor as of Nov. 22. Yet, 60 percent of the Senate voted to debate this disastrous bill. I sincerely wonder how many people writing to the Telegraph in support of this budget-breaking bill even understand that it won’t take effect until 2013.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett was quoted as saying that “even if it costs me the election, I will vote for the health-care bill.”    

One wag in the comments section of the Denver Post nailed it when he accused Bennett of being “so stupid that he didn’t even ‘sell’ his vote to benefit Colorado residents knowing that his vote was worth $300 million.” Mary Landrieu got a $300 million bribe (paid for with our tax dollars) for her yes vote.

– Dennis Pierce, via e-mail

Louie in paradise

Dear Editors,Everybody loves a happy ending.

Louie, my 28-year-old stallion, has a wonderful new home, companions and the very best of love and care. This new home is way beyond my wildest dreams for him. Best of all, I can visit him from time to time! I would like to thank your newspaper and staff for allowing me to tell Louie’s story. I would also like to thank all the folks who were sending prayers for a wonderful, new home for Louie. Never, ever underestimate the power of prayer.    

– Deborah Ann Koster, via e-mail


A cleansing quiet

Over the hillock

Moments of soft purity


A not so

Perfect world

A blanket of sublime silence

That soothes the spirit

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio